Death Knight Leveling Guide From 55 to 80 for WotLK Classic

Last updated on Aug 27, 2022 at 10:30 by Sellin 4 comments

In this article, we will help you leveling in WotLK Classic as a Death Knight. Death Knight is one of if not the fastest leveler in the game thanks to their incredible self sustain and considerable multi-target damage dealing. As a Death Knight, you will have access to a wide variety of abilities that if used correctly can help maximize your uptime, kill speed and rate at which you are able to gain levels.



Death Knights are one of the fastest leveling classes in the game largely due to their mob kill speed, ability to deal damage to multiple targets, great self-healing, ability to wear gear with plenty of Armor, and a large number of passive abilities that sustain and grant health and Runic Power, limiting downtime and making the leveling process extremely steady and quite quick. Blood is by far the fastest leveling spec if you plan to play solo as a Death Knight, as the extra healing that the talents in the Blood tree grant will help you level considerably faster as you will be able to pull a large number of mobs than anything you will gain by speccing Frost or Unholy.


General WotLK Leveling Advice

Providing non-Death Knight leveling advice is outside the scope of this article and is covered in our general WotLK leveling guide.


Spec Choice

Every Death Knight spec is useful in its own way and fills a role that is important to a group, but Blood will be the best by far for solo leveling while also allowing you to tank when needed.

If you are going to be leveling with other people, Unholy can be a good choice. Unholy Death Knights offer some of the strongest buffs/debuffs in the game, regardless of the level, and can spend talent points to make their already extremely powerful debuff spells even stronger.

Frost is another great option either in a group or solo. Playing Frost heavily utilizes one handed weapons as a large amount of their damage is amplified by procs from auto attacking and while leveling as Frost is viable and can help you deal a massive amount of AoE Damage, it is oftentimes very gear dependant and less durable than Blood.


General Rules for Leveling as Death Knight

  • Apply your diseases to any monster you think will take more than a couple of hits to kill by using Icy Touch IconIcy Touch and Plague Strike IconPlague Strike.
  • Do not hesitate to spread your diseases using Pestilence IconPestilence if you are fighting multiple mobs at the same time.
  • Make sure you are ALWAYS in a presence. Blood Presence IconBlood Presence is preferable while leveling as it grants you a considerable amount of self-healing and increases your damage though Unholy Presence IconUnholy Presence will grant you a considerable amount of movement speed and allow you to travel quicker while leveling.
  • Keep Horn of Winter IconHorn of Winter active at all times.
  • Always be auto attacking. Death Knights deal a massive amount of their damage from auto attacks and have many abilities/passives that can proc from simply making sure you are always auto attacking.
  • Do not hestiate to pull multiple mobs. Death Knights are built to deal large amounts of damage to multiple mobs and have a strong amount of sustain naturally built-in to their abilities such as Death Strike IconDeath Strike, so try to figure out how many you can comfortably pull.

Leveling in a Group as a Death Knight

Leveling in groups both in the open world and dungeons is an increasingly popular and efficient way to level in WotLK Classic. Death Knights are able to level extremely quickly solo but can also be a key part of a group and can easily switch between Tanking or DPSing as needed. Death Knights shine when grouped with other melee DPS such as Warriors, Rogues, Feral DPS Druids, and Enhancement Shamans.


Dungeon Grinding

Leveling through Dungeons is a strategy that many have seen considerable success with due to the uncertainty of how respawns in the world can be. Dungeons can be among the fastest ways to level in WotLK. With a strong group, especially with gear already from TBC Classic, you could realistically expect to see experience gains as fast as, if not greater, than what you would solo questing. You could viably farm dungeons all the way to Level 80 if that is what you wanted to do. Death Knights are extremely strong Damage Dealers and Tanks for any group, but some group comps are stronger than others.


Death Knight Abilities

The Death Knight leveling rotation puts a large emphasis on their ability to sustain their own health and pull large groups of enemies. An emphasis should be put into talents/abilities that cause you to heal yourself or deal passive damage through diseases as you will likely have your diseases spread to all enemies you are fighting, not just your primary kill target. Death Knight recieves an Epic ground mount for free as a part of their starting zone, so do not worry about saving up the gold for it.



Death Knights have three presences, one based off of each of their available specilizations. While you will most likely not match your presence to your specilization, each presence offers unique bonuses that are situationally useful and will greatly help with the leveling process.

Blood Presence IconBlood Presence — increases your damage dealt and causes your abilities to heal you for a small percentage of the damage you deal while this buff is active. This is the default leveling presence as your main goal is to increase your kill speed while mitigating downtime while leveling.

Unholy Presence IconUnholy Presence — increases your movement and attack speed considerably. While this presence is extremely useful to get around, the bonus attack speed will not help you kill faster than the added damage from Blood Presence IconBlood Presence, so this presence should be used only when traveling from objective to objective.

Frost Presence IconFrost Presence — increases your Stamina and the contributions of the Armor from your gear. This is not a presence we would reccomend while leveling unless you are in a group and will be taking considerable damage while having a healer ready to heal you.


Leveling Strategy as a Death Knight

Leveling as a Death Knight can feel a bit overwhelming at first as you will be starting at a much higher level than other classes so you will have more abilities faster. But do not let this discourage you, Death Knight is a relatively simple class to level with and taking a bit of time to learn your abilities will greatly improve your experience with it. Death Knight is the master of self-healing while leveling and have some of the lowest downtime of any class in the entire game. Each fight should begin with you applying your diseases by casting Icy Touch IconIcy Touch and Plague Strike IconPlague Strike. If you are fighting multiple mobs then these diseases should be spread by casting Pestilence IconPestilence. Death and Decay IconDeath and Decay and Blood Boil IconBlood Boil will both deal large amounts of AoE damage, so make sure to take advantage of them when pulling multiple mobs. Your specialization will largely determine which abilities you spend your Runic Power on, but if you need a defensive cooldown do not hesitate to spend your Runic Power on either Icebound Fortitude IconIcebound Fortitude to protect yourself from stuns and reduce your damage intake; you can also summon a ghoul with Raise Dead IconRaise Dead and sacrifice it using Death Pact IconDeath Pact to be healed for 40% of your health.


Professions While Leveling

If you are rushing to Level 80, then leveling Professions will slow you down. The combat benefits of each profession are typically not worth the time you would have to invest to obtain them for leveling, though they are considerably stronger in Wrath of the Lich King than past expansions. There are, however, some professions that are very useful for leveling and can be worth doing while you level.

First Aid is a must-have profession at max level and while leveling, as it provides healing for no Mana. The cloth you naturally gather while leveling is ususally more than enough to level it as you go. Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning are great choices for making gold towards your Epic or flying mount, and can also be useful for helping to level other important professions later on, such as taking Mining to help level Engineering or Skinning to help level Leatherworking.


Progressing your Death Knight at Level 80

By the time you hit maximum level, it will be very helpful to read the rest of our guides. Pick Unholy Death Knight if you intend to play Unholy at maximum level, Frost Death Knight if you intend to play Frost at maximum level, and Blood Death Knight if you intend to play Blood.



  • 27 Aug. 2022: Page added.
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